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J Bacteriol. 1988 Apr;170(4):1990-3.

Hydrogen-mediated enhancement of hydrogenase expression in Azotobacter vinelandii.

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Department of Biology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland 21218.


Azotobacter vinelandii cultures express more H2 uptake hydrogenase activity when fixing N2 than when provided with fixed N. Hydrogen, a product of the nitrogenase reaction, is at least partly responsible for this increase. The addition of H2 to NH4+-grown wild-type cultures caused increased whole-cell H2 uptake activity, methylene blue-dependent H2 uptake activity of membranes, and accumulation of hydrogenase protein (large subunit as detected immunologically) in membranes. Both rifampin and chloramphenicol inhibited the H2-mediated enhancement of hydrogenase synthesis. Nif- A. vinelandii mutants with deletions or insertions in the nif genes responded to added H2 by increasing the amount of both whole-cell and membrane-bound hydrogenase activities. Nif- mutant strain CA11 contained fourfold more hydrogenase protein when incubated in N-free medium with H2 than when incubated in the same medium containing Ar. N2-fixing wild-type cultures that produce H2 did not increase hydrogenase protein levels in response to added H2.

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